Finding time to blog.
It feels like a long time since I’ve written a blog so I thought I’d pop in to let my readers know what I’ve been up to and that I haven’t abandoned them.
I’ve done a lot more editing on Troll Life and I will post about that separately. I have reached a point where I’ve decided there are two main flaws with the story, the stakes aren’t high enough for each character and the story isn’t funny enough. They are pretty major issues on the face of it however I believe they are linked and fixing one should fix the other. My recent hectic schedule has allowed me some distance from it so when I return, I’m sure it will be easily resolved.
Sunderland 2021 UK City of Culture bid.
As you’ll know from previous blogs, I’m fully behind Sunderland’s bid to be UK City of Culture and was named as one of 21 Community Champions. I was proud to be asked to meet with the judges when they visited and the passion in the room that day filled me with confidence that the city is moving in the right direction.
I was also luckily enough to ‘star’ in this fantastic film by Second Draft that showcases everything that is great about our city.
The result will be announced in December and whatever happens, the profile and spirit of the city has been raised by this bid and I’m proud to have been part of it.
Putting Southwick On The Map
After the launch in September, I’ve had a to take a small step back due to my workload but I’ve still been involved. Last week saw the launch of the Being Human Festival where we exhibited the map along with artwork from Southwick residents.
It was opened by the Mayor of Sunderland and was very well received. We met with an assessor on Thursday and talked her through our process and hopefully she was impressed with everything we have done in the past two years.
Fireflight & Billy Bragg
I had no connection with these productions other than getting tickets and turning up but they were both up there as highlights of the year.
Fireflight has to be one of the most spectacular events ever in Sunderland. To celebrate the regeneration and opening of the old Fire Station, Fireflight by Periplum, along with community organisations, was a celebration of Sunderland with fire and light and was finished off with a fantastic firework display. I was so pleased to get a ticket and be lucky enough to witness it and hopefully it will be the first of many similar events in Sunderland.
I’m a big fan of Billy Bragg and have seen him many times. I’d almost forgotten that I had tickets to see him at the Wylam Brewery, a great new venue with fantastic beer. Billy didn’t disappoint and I’m sure I’ll be returning to the brewery soon. (Although it could do with some lighting in the park on the way there.)
Sunderland Literature Festival
I had two sessions at the Literature Festival this year and strangely, the one with the smallest crowd was my favourite. It was more of a chat and the crowd asked loads of questions which led to a more natural discussion. Possibly something to learn for future events.
My event at Sunderland Museum did lead to my first ever autograph signing. I’ve signed many books before but this is the first time someone has come up and asked for an autograph. (Much to the amusement of my friends in the audience.)
Centrepoint Sleep Out at Stadium of Light
I was once again asked to do a writing workshop at the Sleep Out at the Stadium of Light after the success of last year’s ‘What’s In Your Bag?’ The event was a great success although the dynamics of the participants meant it was a lot more difficult for me to get people involved in the writing.
I did however do the Stadium tour and manage to get hold of Simon Grayson’s last ever tactics as a Sunderland manager.
I’d also like to say thanks to one of the celebrities who bizarrely came in for a lot of stick on social media the day after the event from people who didn’t understand what it was about. I’m not a fan of Reality TV and didn’t really know who Vicky Pattison was beforehand. I probably misjudged her but when I asked her to get involved in the writing workshop she agreed to it straight away when she didn’t need to. She was pleasant and approachable all night and helped raise the profile of the event (and raised thousands for the charity.)
I actually managed to fit in a lads’ weekend away to Amble in October. Let’s just say that it was eventful and leave it at that.
Along with some freelancing work I’m taking on some causal work in December to keep the money flowing. There’s some exciting things happening which I hope to post about soon but I need to bring some money in when I can.
I might be quiet in December but will continue to post the serialisation of Leg It each week.
I’ll blog again as soon as I can but if I don’t speak to you before then, have a very Merry Christmas.